In an episode of the ABC Nightline series, Identity Denied: Trans in America, Rachel Levine, the highest-ranking openly transgender federal official in the United States, shared her views on children experiencing struggles with their assigned puberty. Levine emphasized the importance of support and understanding for children who feel internally that they belong to a different gender but are going through the puberty associated with their assigned sex at birth. She advocated for therapy as a means for prepubertal children to explore their feelings, highlighting that medical procedures are not imposed on them.
It is worth noting that Levine herself began exploring her gender identity later in life, during adulthood at the age of 54. Despite not experiencing childhood gender identity struggles firsthand, she strongly supports gender-affirming care as a form of medical and mental health support, even considering it as a strategy for suicide prevention.
The reactions to Levine’s statements on social media have been divided. Some critics argue against the concept of a “wrong puberty” for children and question Levine’s expertise on the matter. Others express concerns about the potential negative effects of telling children they were “born in the wrong body” and believe that parents who promote this narrative should be held accountable.
As Levine’s remarks have sparked debate, it is vital to consider different perspectives and prioritize the well-being and mental health of all individuals involved. The discussions surrounding the appropriate age for exploring gender identity and the role of medical and mental health care in supporting transgender individuals encompass complex ethical, social, and cultural dimensions.